John Grisham - Shastrix Books

John Grisham

Recently reviewed

The Judge's List

The Judge's List

John Grisham

1st May 2022

Grisham returns to the land of sequels as we return to the investigators of dodgy judges, and a horrifying accusation is made.

With this novel, I feel like I might be on the Grisham off ramp. The narrative style is becoming increasingly dry and hard to engage with, and it feels like Grisham in this book particularly has started taking lessons from other crime writers I’ve given up on about how graphic to be in describing violent criminal activity, and that’s not what I’m here for.

I found the novel to be a bit of a slog, and just really wanted it to be over all the way until the conclusion. That itself was very true to the Grisham style, which I’d describe as being unable to provide a satisfying ending.

So I don’t know if I’m even going to bother with the next book. Maybe that’s the end.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty StarEmpty Star


John Grisham

31st July 2021

John Grisham turns back to sports in this novel about a South Sudanese basketball player who is spotted by a coach looking to take a team to the US for exhibition matches.

I was expecting something a little more light-hearted from a novel about sports, but it turns out that's not what Grisham has in mind as we dive straight in early on to the horrors of a moden-day civil war.

The narrative remains in Grisham's usual quite dispassionate tone - which is quite disturbing in places where it feels like more emotion is justified to almost tone down the pure horror of the events he depicts. Similarly, the tone makes parsing the descriptions of endless basketball matches into a chore, and the cliche "Nothing but net" makes frustratingly frequent appearances.

I think the best wording to use is 'mostly satisfying' - I'm not sure I'd recommend it though as an enjoyable or entertaining read.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
A Time for Mercy

A Time for Mercy

John Grisham

28th March 2021

This late-2020 John Grisham novel is another sequel to his early tale of racist Mississippi, A Time to Kill. A sequel in the sense that the same characters re-appear, and similar themes in a similar setting, but not really in terms of the actual plot.

It feels like a fitting story for a year in which the actions of police officers around the world have come under scrutiny - re with a police officer serving the role of victim, but with sufficient levels of ambiguity to make it an interesting question to think about what the definition of innocent and guilty are.

I think this might be one of Grisham's best novels - getting a good balance of the emotion and the characters with an insight into the legal process. I'd actually go as far to say that it might be the most emotional of his novels, stepping away from his classic event-based narrative to give us more character engagement.

A good balance of insightful, thought-proking, and frustrating. Although there was one area that it felt like Grisham put in the subject but backed off from actually having a debate about, which seemed a missed opportunity.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
Camino Winds

Camino Winds

John Grisham

27th June 2020

An unusual sequel from John Grisham sends us back to the world of his somewhat more-literary group of fictional authors and their bookseller patriarch, on Camino Island, Florida, as a hurricane makes its way dramatically towards them.

I was unsure how this was going to work - was there scope for a second story here? And the answer is yes, there is - and it’s sufficiently different not be a rehash of what went before, and to actually develop the characters, as well as drop in references back to the original novel and make it clear those events have not been forgotten and indeed do contribute to this story.

However I did find the book a little hard going - it felt slower paced than I was ready for, and I felt like I was forcing my way through it faster than felt natural, because I was looking forward to finding something more exciting afterward. Ideal perhaps for someone with a shorter attention span who is looking just to dip in for ten minutes every now and then, maybe while on holiday (though perhaps not to a hurricane destination).

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
The Guardians

The Guardians

John Grisham

2nd January 2020

I was worried when I started reading this Grisham novel that it was just going to be the same again - he’s written the story of a man on death row over and over again - but it managed to retain my interest and tell an interesting story from a slightly different angle.

It does feel though like this is a bit cookie cutter - Grisham can clearly output legal thrillers almost with his eyes shut now, and his other works seem to be the ones that have more interesting characters and plots, exploring other genres. The narrative here is perfunctory and dry - the classic Grisham move of sticking to fact fact fact, and not adding emotion or colour - it does read a bit like it’s being narrated by a neutral lawyer rather than someone passionate.

An enjoyable read, but not particularly anything special - and I am beginning to wonder whether I want to keep investing my time in reading Grisham’s output.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
Buy book #ad: UKBuy ebook #ad: UK
The Reckoning

The Reckoning

John Grisham

23rd January 2019

2018’s John Grisham novel is an interesting blend of his earlier and later styles. We start out with the traditional courtroom drama setup - we find out what happened, who’s who, what the lawyers are up to, and end up in court. But this book also gives us something else - a lot more back story than I was expecting, and a lot more forestory (if that can be a thing).

It’s fascinating to see a bit more of the story than just the court case - and to dig in and try to understand things in a bit more detail. That said, there’s a large chunk of the novel that feels a bit like ‘John Grisham was learning recently about this historical event and now wants to tell you about it’, and it’s very dark and very grim - possibly the hardest thing to read that he’s written, which is quite a thing for an author whose previous works have included executions.

In the end, I don’t think I really liked this story - it’s too unpleasant in the choice of subject matter to be entertaining, and turned into more of a history lesson than a story. I don’t think I can bring myself to recommend it because of this.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
The Rooster Bar

The Rooster Bar

John Grisham

23rd March 2018

Somehow, John Grisham has come up with a new twist on the Legal Thriller - following a friend's suicide, three law students decide to give up college and just practice without licences. And then their adventures really begins.

It's interesting to have a novel from Grisham where his main characters suffer a major trauma at the start, but it still feels like he hasn’t quite got a grip on communicating emotion, as they still come across quite robotic even while suffering grief.

I'm actually getting a little irritated by the cleanness of Grisham's writing style, it's very perfunctory and action based rather than worrying too much about emotion or character. It's almost dry enough to be a formal report of events that occurred.

Ultimately this book was a bit disappointing. The ideas were novel and intriguing, but the execution almost felt like some sort of weird morality tale rather than entertainment.

read more

Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star

Other reviewed books

Camino Island
The Whistler
The Scandal
Rogue Lawyer
The Fugitive
Gray Mountain
Sycamore Row
The Racketeer
The Activist
Calico Joe
The Accused
The Litigators
The Abduction
The Confession
Theodore Boone
Ford County Stories
The Associate
The Appeal
The Innocent Man
The Broker
The Last Juror
The King of Torts
The Summons
Skipping Christmas
A Painted House
The Brethren
The Testament
The Street Lawyer
The Partner
The Runaway Jury
The Rainmaker
The Chamber
The Client
The Pelican Brief
A Time to Kill
The Firm

Unreviewed books

Playing for Pizza

Top books

  1. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled Star
  2. The Firm
  3. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled Star
  4. Calico Joe
  5. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  6. Rogue Lawyer
  7. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  8. The Broker
  9. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  10. Sycamore Row
  11. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  12. Bleachers
  13. Filled StarFilled StarFilled StarFilled StarEmpty Star
  14. Camino Winds